Sophisticated packaging architectures have been developed that enable low cost, very high average power, long lived pumping of solid state lasers. Single water cooled manifolds now provide slab pumping of up to 2.5 kW of average optical power, while low cost yet flexible bar mounting techniques allow burn-in that enables very long lifetimes. Architecture modification allows for high peak power of up to 80 kW per water cooled pump manifold. Specialized high brightness packaging now allows approximately 20 watt cw bars to be lensed into less than 200 micrometers diameter spot sizes (approximately 54 kW/cm<SUP>2</SUP>).
Methods of reformatting the output of laser diodes and maintaining much of their intrinsic brightness are discussed. A commercial, fiber-coupled package is shown with a symmetric etendue and a brightness of 15 kW/(cm<SUP>2</SUP> sr). A symmeterized beam with a brightness of 200 kW/(cm<SUP>2</SUP> sr) is demonstrated by using a combination of a micro-lensed diode array and a lens array.
Ten optical fibers were aligned to a single diode laser bar. The fibers were fed through a single optical connector with an aperture diameter of 381 micrometers . Coupling efficiencies as high as 65% were achieved with antireflection-coated fibers approximately 3 cm in length. Over 6.5 W cw at a power density of 5.7 kW/cm2 was delivered from the connector output.